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WONDER-WORKING BY HYPNOTISM         109
he seemed to suck air abruptly into his mouth, with the result that the Adam's apple of his t&roat was momentarily agitated. In a minute his eyes closed and he was entranced; at the same time he uttered a peculiar, sadden cry. His trance abruptly culminated in catalepsy so rigid that he would have fallen like a dead man to the floor, if his assistants had not caught him in their arms.
His body was now as stiff as a piece of wood.
For the first experiment he was stripped bare to the waist.
One of his assistants fixed the long scythe-blades to the tops of a pair of trestles with the sharpened sides uppermost. Upon these blades Tahra Bey wa.s then placed so that one propped up his shoulders and the other Hs ankles. While he was in this condition a doctor took hi$ pulse-beat and was surprised to find that it registered the abnormally high figure of 130.
The large block of stone was brought forward and weighed; it registered nearly ninety kilogrammes, or a little more than one hundredweight and a half in English weights. \t was a rough cube of solid rock gtaoitc. The assistants placed it upon Tahra Bey's bare stomach; ojne of them took up the blacksmith's hammer and vigorously delivered blow after blow upon the block. The fakir's body remained as taut and rigid as if it had been made of iron, nevet yielding once a fraction under the combination of terrific pressure and weight. Eventually the stone split into two pieces which fell resoundingly to the floor. Tahra Bey was lifted up, placed on his feet and supported by his two men. Apparently, he was quite unconscious of what had happened, and had not suffered any pain. Doctors examined him with interest and found that the scythe-blade edges had not left the slightest marks upon his skin! Nevertheless, the block of granite had left a strong te<E mark all over his abdomen.
He might have lain on a bed of flowers for all the effect this ordeal had upon him. It renoiaded me of the performances of lower orders of Yogis I hid met with at Benares, who sit and sleep on sharp spikes, and from whom I had walked away, repelled rather than edified.
He was next placed upoa tJie wooden plank studded with sharp nails of great length whose points jutted up in the air; an assistant jumped up and stood upon him, one foot on his chest and the other on his abdomen; yet when he was re-examined by the doctors, his bare back showed not the slightest mark of entry by the spikes I His pulse now registered 132,